Local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas badly affected by Typhoon Odette have been directed to submit a validated list of families with damaged houses to serve as the basis for the delivery of central government assistance to affected households.

Even if data gathering is still a big challenge due to the absence of power supply and unstable mobile phone signals, the local disaster risk reduction and management councils should make validation a priority, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Grace Subong said Tuesday night.

“We need a single official data on (the) damage. We are closely coordinating with LGUs since this is our basis for response,” Subong told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.

The list will also be shared with non-government organizations doing humanitarian work in typhoon-ravaged communities in 25 towns in the region.

A preliminary report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) disclosed that 148,667 houses were damaged by Typhoon Odette’s fierce winds and storm surge when it crossed the region on Dec. 16, 2021.
Of the total, 49,650 houses are classified as destroyed and 99,017 as damaged.

Among the provinces, Southern Leyte has the most damaged houses with 76,874, followed by areas in the southwestern part of Leyte with 71,158 and Mercedes, Eastern Samar with 635.

Subong said the validated list is needed because the national government is looking at giving cash assistance to families with damaged houses.

“We still have to announce the amount since our main office has been meeting with the Department of Budget and Management to check available funds for typhoon victims,” she added.

At least 25 areas are identified as badly hit by “Odette” in Eastern Visayas, including 18 towns and one city in Southern Leyte and six towns in Leyte.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday afternoon, at least 81,506 family food packs (FFPs) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have been distributed to cities and towns affected by the typhoon.

Each FFP contains six kg. of rice, four cans of corned beef, four cans of tuna flakes, two cans of sardines, five sachets of coffee, and five sachets of cereal drink. It is enough for a family of five for two to three days.

The DSWD has been coordinating with other members of the RDRRMC to fast-track the distribution of family food packs.

On December 16, “Odette” barreled through Caraga and Eastern Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 270 kph. After hitting Surigao, it made two landfalls in Southern Leyte before devastating Central Visayas. (PNA)